Hot Tubs

Backyard oasis

Hot Tub Photos

Explore photos of various new hot tub styles to inspire your next renovation

You want to install a hot tub but really do not know how to start looking for one or what the upkeep entails. A spa is in essence a smaller version of a pool. They operate in much the same way, with a pump circulating the water and passing through a filter. Chemicals need to be added in order to keep bacteria out of the water and the water sterile.

However, there are some important differences between a spa and a pool. For instance, spas usually are kept at a higher temperature than a pool, with a spa's temperature averaging around 104 degrees, which a pool's temperature is from 78 to 82 degrees. Additionally, the force in which the water enters the spa is much higher than a pool. This high pressure is what gives the spa a soothing feeling.

One advantage to having a, in-ground spa next to a pool is that the equipment to run each of them is the same; therefore, you would not need different equipment for each unit. You would however, need to ensure that the equipment is large enough to handle both the spa and the pool. If the spa will be freestanding, it will need to have its own pump, filter and heater.

The next thing to consider is how the water will be heated—if gas or electric will be used. Gas is not only faster to heat, but is less expensive than electric heat. Electric heat, if run on 110 volts, will take longer to heat the water up than 220 volts. Either one is a lot more expensive to run than gas will be.

A spa's control is usually located on the edge of the spa. These controls are used to turn on the pump, heater and hydro-jets. With technology as it is, there are some wireless controls available where the adjustment for the spa can be made from any room in the house. There are also options where you can control the spa from a telephone, having the spa ready for dipping into when you return home.

Jacuzzi TubThere are usually two-speed pumps used on spas. One is a higher speed that is used to power the hydro-jets. The lower speed is to operate the circulation through the filter and heater, saving money and energy when the spa is not being used.

Regular upkeep for the spa is necessary. The tools are basically the same as what a swimming pool requires, but on a smaller scale. These tools include a leaf skimmer, vacuum, spa wand, and a bucket and sponge.

The leaf skimmer is a tool with a long handle in order to remove large pieces of floating debris. A spa vacuum may sound a bit strange. A spa vacuum just collects debris from your spa and is powered through the circulation system. Most are powered through your pool's circulation system; however, if it is not connected or you do not have one, then the vacuum would be powered by a jet of water from the garden hose.

A spa wand works in much the same way as a vacuum, collecting debris through suction, however it is powered by either pumping or turning the handle, or could be powered by a rechargeable battery. You can also use the spa wand to clean the pools steps.

A bucket and soft sponge are used for cleaning the interior of the spa walls. It is important to clean any debris from your spa. This is important because a spa is smaller than a pool and any sort of debris will lower the efficiency of the circulation system. By using the skimmer each time you use the spa, in addition to vacuuming or using the spa wand twice a week will remove anything that settles at the bottom of the spa which could result in a bigger problem later on if not taken care of.

By performing regular, general maintenance of your spa, you will keep it clean and sanitary, but also energy efficient.

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